After Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston retreated to Allatoona Pass on May 19-20, 1864, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman determined to move around Johnston’s left flank rather than attack the strong defenses in his front. On May 23, Sherman set in motion Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas's Army of the Cumberland toward Dallas, a small crossroads town 30 miles northwest of Atlanta. Johnston anticipated Sherman’s move and blocked the Federals at New Hope Church. Believing the Confederates were merely a token force, Sherman ordered Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s XX Corps to attack on May 25. Advancing over rough terrain, later dubbed the "Hell Hole" by Hooker's men, the Federal soldiers were severely mauled in front of the Confederate earthworks by infantry and artillery fire. Both sides dug in, and skirmishing continued throughout May 26. The next day, Sherman ordered a withdrawal and concentrated his efforts toward the Confederate right flank, resulting in the Battle of Pickett's Mill.